Do the Patriots have a chance at beating the Chiefs in Kansas City? Mike Lombardi thinks so.
The former Patriots executive went on OMF with Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni and Christian Fauria and explained exactly how Bill Belichick and Co. can get the job done against Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the defending world champs.
"You have to have fast guys on the D-line. You can't have a bunch of slow slugs up front," Lombardi said. "I think more than anything you've got to be able to take the top off. If you do play man you're going to tilt the man toward Tyreek Hill. You're going to have to protect him. You're going to have to control you pass rush.
"I've said this a thousand times, the only way to stop great quarterbacks, and this is the only way, is how you rush them. How you control the pass rusher. If you go back to the conference championship game in Kansas City, Belichick's rush plan won the game. They powered the left tackle back. They powered the right tackle. They won with inside pressure. They kept Mahomes in the pocket. He got out sometimes because he's a great player. He's going to win some too. But the only way you control great quarterbacks in the NFL is by controlling the pass rush."
Fauria followed up Lombardi's assessment with a reasonable question: What if the Patriots' simply don't have the personnel to execute such a game-plan?
When the Patriots beat the Chiefs in the aforementioned 2018 AFC Championship Game it was a different group on the defensive side of the ball. Gone are Kyle Van Noy (who had 10 tackles)m, Trey Flowers, Malcolm Brown, and Dont'a Hightower.
Now they will be leaning on players like Adrian Phillips, John Simon, Brandon Copeland, Chase Winovich, Deatrich Wise and rookie Kyle Dugger.
"They have got a lot of linebackers and I'm sure they're going to play them but you need some guys inside that power those guards back. You have to make Mahomes feel you in the pocket," Lombardi responded.
"I think what you're saying is true and I think Coach Belichick is going to have enough athletes on the field to make damn sure he can chase the quarterback down. He's not going to have a bunch of guys who are going to get out-run. The more speed the better."